Although the 2009 harvest is months away, local farmers are ready to accept your CSA dollars. Farmers use the money to get their new crops growing. In return, your family gets a weekly supply of fresh produce for about twenty weeks from late spring through the fall. It’s not just lettuce: many farms offer Narragansett Creamery cheeses, free range eggs, scallops, flowers, honey, and other locally-produced provisions. Some CSA shares offer participants the chance to visit and work on the farm. You might even get invited into the chicken coop to look for eggs in the henhouse.
What does it cost? For a family-size share, about $600 up front. Ouch. But that’s about $30 per week–which is probably less than you spend on produce for a week’s worth of meals. Ledge Ends Produce in East Greenwich (CSA pick-up also offered on the East Side of Providence) estimates a share’s value during the summer weeks to be $50. Smaller shares (for households that consume less than a big box’s worth of produce each week) are offered by some farms. And Wishing Stone Farm in Little Compton (CSA pick-up options in Barrington and Providence) offers a flexible plan, allowing you to choose whether you want to get jam and goat cheese or pound upon pound of tomatoes.
An even bigger issue than the cost and how much food a share provides is this: where will you have to go to pick up your share? Getting in a hot car to drive twenty miles in July is incredibly unappealing. It’s also completely counteractive to whatever good carbon-footprint karma you’ve earned by supporting local farms.
The Kidoinfo Resource Directory lists local CSA‘s and will guide you to the CSA that matches your family’s food, budget, and geographical profile. Have a favorite farmer? Do your kids have a favorite Rhode Island vegetable? Please share your insights by posting a review in the directory.
Check the Farm Fresh RI website to learn more about the Rhode Island farming community.